Passing drugs through the blood-brain barrier remains a major challenge, overcoming which would allow for much more effective treatment of diseases in the brain, including cancer. Researchers from the Washington University in St Louis have developed gold nanoparticles and an aerosol delivery system that may prove effective at safely ferrying drugs to the human brain.
So far they tested their technology on locusts that are known to have a blood-brain barrier with characteristics similar to ours. The gold nanoparticles were created with a very strict control of their size, shape, and electrical charge. They also had fluorescent tags attached to them for tracking once inside the locusts.
These nanoparticles were sprayed onto the antennae of the locusts and thanks to the tracking tags, the researchers saw them moving through the olfactory nerves, past the blood-brain barrier, and into the brain.
The researchers are yet to attach actual drugs to these particles, but they believe that challenge will be overcome. If that’s done, this approach may lead to nasal administration of brain targeting drugs.
Here’s a quick and simple animation describing the delivery process:
Study in Scientific Reports: Non-invasive aerosol delivery and transport of gold nanoparticles to the brain…